Ambode Receives ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy, Plans to Institutionalise Sport in Secondary Schools
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday received the 2019 World Cup Trophy of the International Cricket Council (ICC), with a pledge to come up with action plan to institutionalize Cricket in Secondary Schools across the State.
Speaking at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja when he officially received the ICC Trophy for the World Cup scheduled to be hosted in June by England and Wales, Governor Ambode, who played the game while in Secondary School, said it was important to initiate programmes to escalate the sport in the country, adding that the best way to start was to make it interesting to young ones.
He said asides the game itself, Cricket fields were well cherished all over the world, and that it was necessary for something to be done to develop the sport in the country, especially in Lagos State renowned to be the Cricket capital of Nigeria, adding that the core fundamentals of the game were necessary to inculcate leadership, team spirit and discipline in the youths.
“I’m delighted that Lagos State is actually part of the success story of Cricket. Yes, we have supported the Nigerian Cricket Federation (NCF) but again we can still do more and what is more important is to see that while this competition is going on, we believe strongly that whatever it is that we can still do to institutionalize Cricket in our Secondary schools and in other places, the Sports Commission should just go ahead and see how that can be done.
“I want to also commend the Federation because I understand that there is a Cricket Clinic coming up tomorrow for school children also, and that is the beginning of how this thing can be activated and we believe that should also be institutionalized so that we can have more people playing the game,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, who also expressed great delight to receive the trophy, said although the game was not seriously understood by Nigerians, but that the camaraderie, sportsmanship and other key attributes of the game were important to play up.
“I feel seriously honoured to be receiving this cup. I’m deeply honoured also that this is happening while I’m still the Governor of this State. It is like bringing the cup back home because it is something I have always cherished right from Secondary School”.
“This is a big moment for me because I used to be the wicked keeper in Secondary school. I’ve always cherished the kind of sportsmanship and the kind of camaraderie that goes with Cricket. It is a game not deeply understood by Nigerians but it is a game that actually teaches you leadership, team spirit, discipline and all sorts because you need to stay somewhere and keep changing for almost like 8 hours, 10 hours unlike other sports that you just use one and half hour and everybody will go home”.
“So, it inculcates into you something that I think I stand for and something I would also like to leave as part of the legacy here that you can be anything you want to be and that is what Cricket also teaches you,” he said.
Recalling his experience with President Muhammadu Buhari last Saturday when they both landed at the Cricket Pitch in the Pavilion and the President was asking whether Cricket was still being played there, Governor Ambode said the development was a pointer to the fact that something must be done to develop the sport in the country and take it to the future.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and President of the Nigerian Cricket Federation, Professor Yahaya Ukwenya said Nigeria was chosen as part of the three countries in Africa to receive the trophy, while Lagos State is the only State in the country to officially host it.
He said in the last 18 months, a lot of achievements had been recorded in the game in the country, adding that Lagos State, as the Nigerian Cricket capital, had been very supportive in attaining the feats.